How did I pick New London for the location of Seeing Red, and subsequently the New London series of books, included Secrets Within?
Some of you may recall that the inspiration for Seeing Red was the movie, The Hunt for Red October. The US attack submarine in the movie is the USS Dallas—a submarine that actually exists, or did until it was decommissioned in April 2017. So to start looking for a location, I searched the Dallas’ homeport, and came upon Submarine Base New London. A few minutes of reading and I knew I had my perfect location.
Submarine Base New London
Subase New London is in fact, in Groton, in the US state of Connecticut. The cities of New London and Groton face each other from across opposing sides of the Thames River (pronounced as spelled, not the same as the Thames in London, UK). The base was officially declared a Navy Yard in 1872 and was initially used for the laying up of inactive ships. The base was almost closed in 1912, but a local Congressman pleaded for it to remain open, and it did. In 1915, the first submarines arrived in Groton with more submarines and support craft following the next year. Subase New London was subsequently named the US Navy’s first submarine base.
The subase is currently homeport to 15 submarines and it also houses the Basic Enlisted Sub School and various other training facilities, and the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory. The US Submarine Force Museum is located next door to the subase, and is the home of the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear powered submarine.
Location, Location, Location
One of the other factors I considered was the distance between New London and Washington DC. Nell, the heroine from Seeing Red, moves from DC to New London to escape her protective family. I needed her to be away from them, but still within easy reach. The two locations are approximately 350 miles apart-another box ticked in favour of New London. The base also had somewhere my fictional characters could work, and landmarks that could be used in the story. New London itself has the right characteristics for the setting I wanted, and the whole story fitted in beautifully.
Have I mentioned…?
Yes, New London and the Submarine Museum are on the itinerary for my US trip later this year. I will, in fact, be spending my birthday there! Not a bad way to celebrate.
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